Balearic minors drink, smoke & gamble more than anywhere else in Spain. | Cristian Castro

Students between the ages of 14 and 18 in the Balearic Islands drink more alcohol, smoke more tobacco, and take more drugs than anywhere else in the country.

81.6% of young people have tried some type of legal drug in the last 12 months and 31.6% have experimented with illegal drugs, according to the latest Estudes survey.

"Drug use begins much earlier than usual in the Balearics, in general, and the figures for almost everything are higher than in the rest of the State," says Xisca Bibiloni, head of the government's drug coordination area.

“The reasons range from the type of life they have, the influence of tourism, the fact that more substances are available here than in other territory," says Bibiloni, who points out that these statistics "are not a new thing and there is no key motive.”

The most worrying factor, especially when it comes to legal drugs, is that they are "very affordable for everyone," despite the explicit ban on selling substances to minors.

Alcohol consumption in the Balearic Islands begins at around 14 years old.

80.8% of respondents had consumed alcohol at some point in their lives; 79% drank alcohol in the last 12 months and 64% in the month before the survey. Half of the high school students had been drunk in the last 12 months.

The Estudes survey shows that in 2018/2019, children aged 14-16 bought alcohol in bars, pubs, supermarkets and nightclubs "where only 18-year-olds are legally allowed to buy it,” explains Xisca Bibiloni, who said local authorities have the power to enforce the regulations.

42.9% of boys between the ages of 14 and 18 have smoked at some point; 47.3% have tried it and 37.2% have been smoking for at least six years.

Only 7.4% of the young people surveyed smoked every day, but the number of people vaping or using water pipes is worryingly high.

"There are some associations that offer these as a way to quit smoking, but the World Health Organization and scientific societies warn that there is no evidence to support that, quite the contrary," warns Bibiloni. "Young people start smoking these and they often contain nicotine, so when it stops satiating them they switch to tobacco. They are dangerous products.”

Another addiction that is reflected in the survey is internet gambling which affects 17% of young people in the Balearic Islands.

11.6% of those surveyed had made a bet online, 21.8% had made face-to-face bets in the last year and 90.7% of them were minors.

Gambling halls and casinos are due to reopen when Phase 3 begins on Monday.

"Young people gather at these places even although they can’t enter by law," claims Bibiloni.